A seat prototyped by Toray. The black part on the backrest and the seating face is the newly-developed cloth.
[Click to enlarge image]

Toray Industries Inc developed a new cloth that can be used for the pads and seat covers of cars.

Compared with commonly-used seats covered by urethan, the cloth enables to make seats more easily. In addition, an elasticity as high as that of urethan can be realized with a thin cloth, reducing seat thickness. As a result, the space between the front and rear seats can be expanded, for example.

The cloth was exhibited at Toray Advanced Materials Symposium 2016, a private show for displaying Toray's technologies. Generally, car seats are made by attaching urethan to a frame and covering it with a cover, requiring the process of cutting the cover and sewing it on the urethan. The process cannot be easily automated and is manually carried out in most cases.

On the other hand, the cloth newly developed by Toray can be applied only by covering a seat frame with the cloth and heating it. It eliminates the need for the process of cutting and sewing, reducing manufacturing costs.

The new cloth is made by weaving the Hytrel (polyester-based elastomer) without sewing it. Toray used Shima Seiki Mfg Ltd's technology to carry out a weaving process without sewing. This time, Toray improved the durability and fire retardance of the Hytrel so that it can be easily applied to auto seats.

Furthermore, Toray used CFRP (carbon finer reinforced plastic) for the frame of the prototyped seat to reduce weight. And the company attached polyester made by using sugarcane-based material (content rate: 30%) to the new cloth for decoration.